The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved nine grant requests to local governments totaling $2,221,694, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The requests include commitments to create a total of 191 jobs, 22 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $49.5 million in private investment.
“When we increase the economic competitiveness of rural North Carolina, we’re boosting the economy for all of North Carolina,” Governor Cooper said. “As we prepare more rural communities to compete for opportunities, we are ensuring greater resiliency, quality of life, and future growth.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s team of rural economic development professionals supports the RIA’s work. RIA members review and approve funding requests from local communities. Funding comes from a variety of specialized grant and loan programs offered and managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, led by Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Kenny Flowers. Grants can support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements.
“Creating a North Carolina that works for everyone is important to our overall economy,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “These communities will receive greatly needed infrastructure and building improvements to create more jobs and future investments to foster greater economic prosperity in all corners of the state.”
The RIA approved seven grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in two categories:
Vacant Building Category
- Cleveland County: A $75,000 grant will support the reuse of a 237,000-square-foot building in Kings Mountain. The building will be occupied by ACTEGA North America, a manufacturer of specialty coatings and chemicals for the printing and packaging industries. This project is expected to create 12 jobs, with an investment of $8,524,014 by the company.
- Greene County: A $50,000 grant will support the reuse of a 6,300-square-foot building located in Snow Hill. The building will be the home of Heritage Family Health, which is a primary care facility for children and adults. The company will create five jobs and invest $210,000 in the project.
- Transylvania County: A $200,000 grant will support the reuse of a 41,000-square-foot building in Brevard. Textile manufacturer and woman-owned company, Siscovers Enterprises, Inc., will use the building to manufacture decorative bedding, pillows, curtains and futon covers. The company expects to create 26 jobs and invest $1,444,550 in the project.
Existing Business Building Category
- Scotland County: A $125,000 grant will support the renovation of a 1-million-square-foot building in Laurinburg. The building is currently occupied by Pilkington North America, Inc., a glass manufacturer for the architectural, automotive, and creative technology industries. Overall, this project is expected to create 20 jobs, with 14 jobs and an investment of $11,810,530 tied to this grant.
- Davidson County: A $100,000 grant will support the renovation of a 1-million square-foot building occupied by EGGER Wood Products, LLC. in Linwood. The company is a manufacturer of wood-based materials for the furniture and interior design, flooring and building products industries. The company will create 21 jobs and invest $21,505,000 in the project.
- Duplin County: A $170,000 grant will support the renovation of a 150,000-square-foot building located in Faison. The building is the home of Cottle Strawberry Nursery, Inc., which supplies strawberry tips, plugs and bare root plants for growers. In this project, the company plans to add a new product line to its operation, creating 19 jobs while investing $1,677,000.
- Yadkin County: A $400,000 grant will support the renovation of a 128,000-square-foot building in East Bend that is occupied by Cross Technology, Inc., a provider of quality precision components, heat shrink products, wire harness assembly, and injection molding. The company expects to create 82 jobs and invest $3,439,685 in this project.
The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments to renovate vacant buildings, renovate and/or expand buildings occupied by existing North Carolina companies, and renovate, expand or construct health care facilities that will lead to the creation of new jobs in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties and in rural census tracts of Tier 3 counties.
The RIA approved one request under the state’s Economic Infrastructure Program:
- Town of Dillsboro (Jackson County): A $104,000 grant, which includes a previous award from February 2023, will support the completion of water system improvements to provide enhanced fire protection, water flow and pressure to serve The Jarrett House/Mount Beulah Hotel, an adjoining restaurant, and the Town of Dillsboro. The company plans to create 12 jobs, which represents an increase from the previous award, with an investment of $966,370.
The Economic Infrastructure Program provides grants to local governments to assist with infrastructure projects that will lead to job creation. The program gives priority to jurisdictions in the 80 most economically distressed counties (Tiers 1 and 2) and can help build water and sewer lines, wastewater treatment plants, natural gas lines, public broadband infrastructure, roadways, rail spurs, and other infrastructure allowed under program guidelines.
The RIA approved one request under the state’s Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program:
- Craven County: A $1,077,694 grant will assist the county with the construction of an access road at the Coastal Carolina Corporate Aerospace Development Park in New Bern.
The Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account provides grants to local governments located in the 80 most economically distressed counties of the state, which are classified as either Tier 1 or Tier 2. Funds may be used for publicly-owned infrastructure projects that are reasonably expected to result in new job creation. The IDF – Utility Account is funded through a process tied to the state’s signature Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program. When JDIG-awarded companies choose to locate or expand in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 county, a portion of that JDIG award is channeled into the Utility Account.
In addition to reviewing and approving funding requests, the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority formulates policies and priorities for grant and loan programs administered by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development team. Its 17 voting members are appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem. The North Carolina Secretary of Commerce serves as a member of the Authority, ex officio.
Visit the Rural Economic Development Division webpage for more information